Stargazing is easy: you just have to look up! But getting started can be daunting for some. Read our top tips for spending your first night under the stars.
Astronomy can be daunting for beginners — after all there’s a whole universe out there! But stargazing basics don’t have to be hard. Sky & Telescope editors (with more than 100 years of collective experience) are here to help you learn your way around the night sky. Whether you’re looking for your first telescope, trying to learn the constellations, or want to learn to use star charts, you’ve come to the right place. The best way to start exploring the night sky is with the unaided eye. Our star wheels are easy to use, and in no time you’ll learn the constellations and names of the stars. And that’s only the beginning!


The night sky is like a giant puzzle. Hidden among the thousands of stars you can find dozens of constellations. You can also search for individual stars and planets.

Go out in the right conditions.

Stargaze when there is little or no moonlight and the sky isn’t cloudy. Find an area away from street lamps, neon signs, and headlights. And give your eyes a half hour to adjust to the darkness.

Bring some stargazing tools.

Bring a sky map to help you identify what you see. With a good star map, there’s no limit to what you can find!
Borrow binoculars or a telescope to see these celestial sights more clearly and closer up.
Keep a notebook with you to sketch what you see in the sky and to keep a record of your sightings. Before you know it, you’ll have a long list of discoveries.
Bring a flashlight to help you find your way and to see your notebook, compass or sky map.

Stay safe!

Bring a friend or parent along to help search the night sky. Don’t ever go out at night without your parents’ permission.
Don’t wander around. It’s easy to get lost, so keep track of where you are. Remember to hold your notebook so your mark for north always points north.


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